Tag Archives: playmobil

Mattel or Playmobil – Some Ideas for Whale- and Dolphin-Friendly Toy

Following up on the debacle of whale and dolphin (and shark-killing) toys that Mattel and Playmobil have devised, I have some suggestions that might actually engender a love of and respect for animals and nature, instead of Whale Dominatrix Barbie.

Sea Kayak and Whale from Tombarefoot.com

Sea Kayak and Whale from Tombarefoot.com Can you say, "Freaking Wow!"

Imagine how awesome it would be to see your child developing an interest in stand-up paddling or sea kayaking, such that it actually informed your family vacation next Summer.  How so very awesome to set their young minds on respect and appreciation, instead of control, manipulation, destruction – which is inherent in the current whale, dolphin and shark toys, that are rooted in maintaining and promoting the dolphin show.

A side-show barker couldn’t do much better at promoting the acceptability of whale and dolphin captivity than Mattel’s and Playmobil’s current toys.  But what about, instead of the current repertoire of whale- and dolphin-unfriendly toys, a:

  • Sea Kayak Barbie
  • Stand-up Paddling Barbie
  • Playmobil Dolphin Pod Watch
  • Whale Watching Barbie

Seriously.  Isn’t that the kind of toy you want your sons and daughters using to tease out their imagination (not that they need – or even should have – a plastic toy to do that – that’s a discussion for another day)?  One that calls them to do more than encourage the capture and domination of a species to do stupid tricks?  One that calls them to appreciate and value the magnificence of marine mammals in their own habitat, living in their own family and community groups.

Watch this video and see if you can’t imagine Mattel and Playmobil making a toy for your child that teaches these awesome values, instead of Capture! Dominate! Demean!

Wow.  Methinks there is a San Juan adventure in my future.  And if Mattel made a Sea Kayak Barbie?  Well, let’s just say that I can think of one little girl with an awesome Barbie in her future.

By the way, there are lots of these sea kayak and paddling adventure tours out there.  Since I have never done one, I can’t recommend one yet.  My friend over at Jules Rules is a serious traveler and outdoor adventure girl.  She’s going to be my first line for recommendations.

Mattel oughta have a Jules Rules Barbie.  Now, that is an awesome idea.

Attention, Playmobil and Mattel! Stop teaching animal disrespect to our children!

Playmobil and Mattel are part of the machine that propagates the world view that animals fall into two camps:

  • Property, or
  • Pests

In this view, only if animals stay out of our way do they escape the logical result of this bilateral world view.

The logical result is that the considerations of humans and its various needs – and human considerations alone – determine the appropriate outcome.

  • Leopard print heel of ridiculous pump

    The leopard skin must warm the cold, dead heart of the chick that wears this pump

    Human hungry?  Eat animal.

  • Human cold? Use animal fur for all-important heel of shoe.
  • Human bored? Use animal for entertainment.
  • Human broke? Use animal to bet on which one could kill another.  Oh, wait, that’s human broke and mean.  Don’t blame your culture.
  • Human mad? Use animal as punching, burning, cutting bag.
  • Human overfishing and depleting fish stocks?  Brand and kill or capture (for the animal as entertainment crowd) animal.
  • Human happy?  Be nice to animal.  Until mad.

Where does the ability to treat animals in this abhorrent fashion originate?  When does it start?

Playmobil, Mattel, the Georgia Aquarium and its cohorts (including its gift shop contractor) all know the answer.  Get ’em while they’re young, before they have a sense of ethics.  Put colorful toys and flashy shows in front of them.  Teach them that animal captivity is a good thing, that it is an expression of our love and appreciation.

Well, all I have to say is that I don’t imagine that you want your children loved or appreciated in this way.  So tell me why it is acceptable to you to ignore an ethical construct that living beings have intrinsic value.  And intrinsic rights to be left to their natural environment.  And that the human mission should be to lessen its footprint in the animals’ natural habitat (oh, and ours, too) to allow them to continue living as they have for millions of years before humans arrived on the scene.

There is an inspiring group of third graders who get this.  Who have been following the news reports on an atrocity being perpetrated on sea lions at the Bonneville Dam in Oregon and Washington.  And who are saying, Don’t kill the Bonneville Sea Lions.  Join them.  Like their Facebook Page.

Tell Playmobil that you’re not buying the load of crap that animal training is acceptable.

Tell Mattel that whales belong in the ocean, not at the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld or the Miami Seaquarium, or at Loro Parque.  And that their toy misleads little children into wanting to capture these sentient, intelligent, social

Whale trainer Barbie by Mattel orca

Barbie toy name suggests that she is a friend to marine mammals. With friends like these . . .

creatures.  The toys omit the story that orcas generally die at very young ages in captivity.  And that by captivity marine mammals are being subjected to new illnesses, such as the West Nile Virus.

Tell the Governors of Oregon and Washington and others that sea lions are not the problem and for damn sure shouldn’t be subject to a final solution.

And, as always, just say no the dolphin show.

Governor Kitzhaber, put away your Whale Trainer Barbie and grow up to the fact that there is such a thing as ethics not rooted in human expediency.


Playmobil – Dolphin toys teach that captivity is A-OK

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Here is the true educational impact of dolphin captivity: Kids love the dolphin shows. They want to be trainers or aquarium vets so that they, too, can capture dolphins and show how much they love them. In the meantime, Playmobil makes its few beans by capitalizing, in between multiple aquarium visits, on the children’s love of this amazing creature.

Now, there are those who went to the shows as children and became dolphin advocates, but I’m not focusing on that itsy-bitsy minority right now.  I’m focusing on the 99% of people (based on my personal observation of how many people go to the dolphin show, versus how many of us are standing on the sidewalks or in The Coves around the world trying to protect them) who continue to think that dolphins in captivity is natural.

The Georgia Aquarium and its ilk, including the garishly commercial SeaWorld chain and/or minion claim that dolphin captivity programs have an educational or conservation purpose (convenient, because otherwise it would be illegal in the United States to keep marine mammals in captivity).  The actual text of the Marine Mammal Protection Act notes, however, that the aquarium industry, itself, gets to set those standards.

Thanks to Playmobil, those standards are clear for anyone, including the child that a parent unwittingly exposes to a most cruel and inhumane captivity industry, to see.  The standards (I’ve paraphrased, if you will), plus a few

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

informal ones, are :

  1. Display the animals regularly (if you only do it once in a while the customers might stop coming).
  2. Make people think these dolphin tricks are “natural behaviors” even though our own training manual is about training “new” behaviors for the show.  Don’t worry about the logic failure there.  Just keep saying “behavior” over and over and work in “free” and “freedom” a few times, too, and keep smiling all the while at the paying customers.
  3. Train the dolphins to ensure that they do the trick, I mean behavior, during the shows for paying customers (it’s embarrassing when the tricks don’t play out).  Tell the customers that even though dolphins don’t  routinely jump through hula hoops in the ocean, they would if they could.
  4. Tell the paying guests that the dolphins are protected from mean predators that live in the wild, and don’t tell them that dolphins are at the top of the marine food chain and don’t really have predators.
  5. Keep the chlorinated water clean.
  6. Keep a vet handy for those annoying upper respiratory issues that seem to occur more frequently in the dolphins that we own than in the ones we haven’t caught yet.
  7. Whatever happens, keep on smiling.

The facts that the Georgia Aquarium does not reveal to their paying guests, during their educational extravaganza are:

  1. Dolphins in the wild swim to depths of 850 feet.
  2. The deepest tank we have is somewhere around 30 feet; the shallowest is 12 feet.
  3. Dolphins in the wild swim up to 70 miles per hour.
  4. Dolphins in the wild swim up to somewhere around 100 miles per day.  They may do this just in a local area or they may travel for miles and back.
  5. The dolphins in our tanks can swim a few body lengths before having to turn around to do it again, over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
  6. Dolphins in captivity have an average shorter life span than in the wild, despite the position taken by the captivity industry.
  7. Many dolphin babies in captivity die in the first few days.
  8. Dolphin babies in the wild stay with their mothers and their extended families.
  9. Dolphin babies are separated from their mothers for the captivity industry (whether from wild capture/slaughter or from a dolphin breeder).
  10. Dolphins are trained with food deprivation.  That’s right.  These highly intelligent creatures know that food comes with doing the trick.

Don’t buy your children this toy.  Watch a couple of documentaries about the truth of dolphin captivity.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

To let Playmobil know that they are teaching our children to disrespect the very animals that they love, and either knowingly or unwittingly contributing to dolphin captivity and slaughter, please contact them:

P.O. Box 877
Dayton, NJ 08810
Voice: (609) 395-5566
Fax: (609) 395-3015
Customer Service e-mail address: service@playmobilusa.com
Non-Customer Service e-mail address: webmaster@playmobilusa.com

Thanks to Amanda Faughnan for the foundation of this piece.